Here’s some questions I am asked often about Teddy:
1. Is a kidney transplant a cure? (Ok, I’m not ever asked this question, it’s more often just an assumption made.) NO. There is no cure for kidney disease. Transplant, like dialysis, is just a treatment method. Dialysis and transplant are both considered “renal replacement therapy.” A transplant is a treatment method that requires a lifetime commitment to taking antirejection drugs, each of which come with their own list of side effects (including cancer), yet it is the best treatment currently available.
It is also more than likely that Teddy’s first transplanted kidney will fail at some point – the average life is 15 years (obviously, that means some last much longer, some last shorter). At that point, he’ll go on dialysis and we’ll start looking for another donor for him and/or wait for a cadaver donor. Subsequent transplants are harder to find a match, because he’ll have picked up his first donor’s antibodies in addition to his own antibodies, and more antibodies = fewer potential matches.
2. Once he gets his transplant, will he be able to get rid of his tubes? No. The only tube he has right now is his feeding tube, and that will come out once he’s able to consume all of his calories orally. He’s more likely to do that after his transplant, but the two aren’t necessarily related that directly.
3. How will they fit Tiff’s kidney into his little body? Do they just put in a part of a kidney? They will put all of Tiff’s kidney into Teddy. (Livers, they can just cut off a portion, but with a kidney, you need the whole thing. Some people get confused because they hear you only need a portion of your kidney function to live, and that’s true, but you still need the entire kidney.) I honestly don’t have a good visual of how they’ll physically cram her kidney into his body, but I don’t really have a good visual of what your insides look like at all. They’ll put her kidney centrally in his lower abdomen. I imagine they’ll just kind of squish whatever else is already there a bit to make room. 🙂
4. Do they take out his old kidneys? This hasn’t yet been determined. Normally, they leave in the native kidneys, as outcomes are usually better with the native kidneys in place. However, there are always exceptions, and they’re currently trying to determine what is the best thing for Teddy.
5. Why does Teddy vomit so much? Who knows. Honestly. Kidney disease makes you nauseous. There could be other things at play, as well.
6. Isn’t Teddy on a restricted amount of fluids? No. Many adults who have kidney failure and are on dialysis have a fluid restriction. Teddy (and many kids like him) actually doesn’t concentrate urine, so he pees quite a bit more than an average kid his age would – and that fluid needs to be replaced. So, he takes in actually more fluid than most kids his age.
Got questions? I’ve got answers. Don’t be shy.